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Rita Moreno named NBT Woman of the Year

Actress Rita Moreno greets the crowd on the red carpet at the 16th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. CREDIT: Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau

Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) will celebrate actress Rita Moreno as its 2019 Woman of the Year at its “Black & White Ball” at the Aria Hotel on Jan. 26. Funds raised at the event will benefit NBT productions and programs.

The honor salutes female pioneers. Moreno joins previous winners since the award’s 1985 inception, including: Elaine Wynn, Celine Dion, Rita Rudner, Marie Osmond, Priscilla Presley, Mitzi Gaynor, Florence Henderson, Debbie Allen, Olivia Newton-John, Vanessa Williams and last year’s honoree, chef Giada De Laurentiis.

“We are in awe of her immeasurable talent, inspired by her strength of character and we applaud her deep commitment to basic human rights,” said NBT co-founder Nancy Houssels in a statement about the Moreno selection. “As a champion for the arts, women and people everywhere, we are thrilled to recognize the artistic achievements of this brilliant advocate, activist and humanitarian.”

At age 86, Moreno, the Presidential Medal of Freedom winner from Puerto Rico, is still building on a 75-year career. Currently, she co-stars on Netflix in Norman Lear’s Latino reboot of his classic sitcom “One Day at a Time.”

Since rising to fame in 1961’s iconic “West Side Story,” Rita Moreno is one of only 12 members (and the first Latino) of what has been dubbed the “EGOT” club – having snared Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

Moreno earned a best supporting actress Oscar in 1961 for portraying Anita in “West Side Story”; a Grammy in 1972 for best recording for children (for “The Electric Company”); a Tony in 1975 as supporting actress in the Broadway play “The Ritz”; and two Emmys — one in 1977 for a “Muppet Show” appearance and another in 1978 for a guest shot on “The Rockford Files.”

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Las Vegas Newswire

Las Vegas Newswire

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